Ahad, 1 Mei 2011

English

After many years math and science were been taught in English, the government decided to abolish the policy of teaching science and mathematics and replaced it with a new policy; enhancing Bahasa Malaysia but at the same time want to improve English among students. Of course not all people pleased with that decision. They quarrel that after many years and millions of ringgit spent for the policy, why government makes a u-turn? Does government, for many years be pressured by pro Bahasa Malaysia movements or it is a popular political decision before 13th general election? And recently, prime minister gives a statement that the government will study the possibility of using two mediums of instruction in schools for science and maths. I do not blame government for this issue because for one main thing is it is not easy to satisfy all people.
For myself in personal, I am prefer maths and science be taught in language where students can understand better. For students living in urban areas, using English as a medium for instruction is not a problem for them. They read English magazines, they surf internet of course in English, they socialise at cafe in English and a lot more activities where English play around. But, not for students living in rural areas, English is just like alien or a creature coming from mars to them. While their urban friends can go for tuition class, they are depending solely on school.
I am not denying an importance of English as a global language and you must speak in that language to work with multinational companies. Even, after so much priority is given to ensure students can master English, why our students after graduation (graduated from local universities) still lack in English? It is something wrong on execution or teachers are incompetent or we miss something important? I think I know the answer and it is base on my own experience. From standard one up to primary school we are taught English but why, I found it was difficult to read in English, to speak in English and to write in English? Why my friends who further their study in overseas make English so easy just like eating ice kacang? The answer is they are force to imply and practice English in daily life, if not, how can they want to study and communicate with other when English is a medium used there. No other language. For many years, we were been taught English in theories and fundamentals in school but not on how to use it. I see that is a problem actually. I have a friend, a foreigner, doing a master degree at my university. He come from country where English is not a must. So, he takes six months intensive English class and he must pass before he can be accepted to do his master degree. And, after six months, his English improve a lot and I cannot say that I am not impressed with him. One evening, I asked him what he done until he can master English in a short of time. He said that the teacher encourage (actually force) students to practice and practice and do not feel shame. I shake my head sign of agree. It reminds me what happen on my day attend a first lecture. I myself failed to understand what was going on in my very first lecture at university just because the lecturer in front was lecturing in English (she is Malay). Since then, I read lot of reading materials in English, train myself to speak in English with other (It is an advantage to has many friends and lecturers from various countries as I could train myself communicate in English) and thank god, I am better in English even though no as expert as other people and I now have no problem to communicate or write in English.
Rather than keep changing the policies or extend teaching hour for English class but technique used is unchanged, why not we (government, parents and communities) persuade, train them practically not just in theory to ensure our children can write, converse and listen in English. My suggestion is not come instantly but after years of observation and own experience as a student. And I don’t think we become less Malay as we learn other language for our own benefit. Do I right?

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